I have a 4 pocket WWII Class A uniform with a 503d jump oval patch, but no shoulder insignia. I know the 503d did not always wear the "Rock" patch, nor was it assigned to a division. What shoulder patch would have been worn on the Class A uniform?

I heard perhaps the Tenth Army or a Corps that was responsible for overseeing units around the Philippines.  What patch should be on this uniform?

I believe it was issued before the "Rock" or "Corregidor" patches.  Also, I understand for a long time these were considered unofficial.

Please help me out or point me in the right direction.

Jeffrey Betz/History Teacher



Don Abbott

Mind you, I am no expert on this subject but will give you my thoughts on the subject.

First, I don't know what a "jump oval" patch is. Is that the blue backing for jump wings?

Second, the 503d, except for the short assignment to the 40th Division, was never assigned to a division, such as the 11th, 82nd or 101st. I think the only patch we would have been authorized to wear, officially, would be that of the XI Corp, 5th Army or 8th Army. The patch of whichever one of those commands we were assigned to at the time would be worn on the left shoulder (or is it the right shoulder?) The "Rock Patch", if it was in existence, or the "Cat Patch" (or even some other unit the soldier had been assigned to) could be worn on the other shoulder. Hopefully, the professional soldiers in the Association will give us the straight scoop.


Bill Calhoun



Technically, we were not assigned to the 40th. We were attached for a specific mission. There was some question about supplies, etc.

As I understood, no shoulder patch below the division level was authorized. I don't think brigade level patches (e.g. 173rd Airborne Brigade) were worn as shoulder patches. I could be wrong on this, but I don't think so. The 503d could wear the 6th Army, the USFFE patch, or the Airborne Command Patch. Note Lloyd G. McCarter's uniform when he received the CMOH in the White House. He wore the Airborne Command Patch. He could wear one of the above mentioned patches on his right shoulder, I believe. Wearing of a former division or higher headquarters patch on the right shoulder was authorized.

Medal regimental shields (patches) were worn on the lapels. Cloth regimental patches could be worn over the left breast of a flight jacket and perhaps other non-Class A jackets. My old Wildcat patch (503rd PIR) was sewn over the left breast of my issued A-3 flight jacket.

As I have tried to make clear, this is as I remember what was official in 1945. If I am wrong I would like to know.



John Lindgren


From Chet Nycum
"G" Co. 503d PIR

The 503d never had an official regimental shoulder patch and they still do not for that matter. 

Infantry regiments are not authorized them. They may wear distinctive metal regimental badges on the epaulets but during  WWII there was no 503d regimental insignia of this sort.

Some 503d people wore a two color [the 503d colors were navy blue border and grey field] oval cloth device behind the parachute qualification  badge. 

If the 503rd WWII trooper were to wear an authorized patch it technically would  be the patch of the unit  [i.e. field army, corps, division] authorized a  patch that the 503d was assigned to. At one time or another the 503rd regiment and later the regimental combat team was assigned to Sixth Army, Eighth Army, XI Corps,40th Infantry Division during WWII. If a patch were to be worn, technically it would be the patch of  one of these units the 503d was assigned to. 

The practical effect of this policy was that during WWII none of these patches were worn on the sleeve by the 503d. That didn't stop some 503d soldiers from wearing the unauthorized Tiger patch however on the sleeve. The Rock patch with the eagle etc. was probably not available before the war ended.

   For the most part, I agree with what you have written, Don. What I don't know is, did any of the 503 people wear the wildcat patch on their blouse sleeve when you were at Bragg? I notice Ben Guthrie had one sewn on his blouse in the post-war picture on his book's jacket. This leads me to suspect the 503 cat  patch was worn at times on the Class A's. The cat and the eagle patches were never authorized to be worn.

The only time I remember wearing Class A's  was [1] during my brief stay at Gordonvale  [October 1943] in the 503d while on off-duty jaunts [2] on parade at Noemfoor on 23 October 1944, and [3] on parade at the surrender ceremony at Mabini, Negros Occidental on 4 September 1945. At no time did I ever see a patch of any kind worn by anyone at these events and places.

 I had a cat patch sewn on my flight jacket [issued to officers only] but never on my blouse.   The current unit patch is worn on the left sleeve. You could wear your WWII unit patch on your right sleeve of you wished. I have no idea what they do now however  but I can say wearing two patches [WWII and current] was de rigueur at least until I left the US Army to fend for itself in 1969.  I must confess I sported the 503d patch often enough on my right sleeve after the war. I used the several hand embroidered 503d totally unauthorized patches I bought in Japan. They weren't too well done but they were good enough to send the message clearly that I once jumped with rhe 503.     












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